SOS - Save Our State Call to Action!
While building a statewide high-speed rail network may have sounded like a good idea in 2008 when the voters approved a "starter bond" for $9.95B, the facts, or lack thereof, are finally coming to the fore. Local elected officials that have supported the concept (and perhaps still do) and taxpayers deserve the facts, not just spin.
Unfortunately, the facts are difficult to come by, due in part to the complex nature of the transaction, vagueness of reporting and follow up at the state level.
It's time to Derail and Curtail high-speed spending in California. Billions in "free money" being doled out by Washington for the high-speed train will further indebt you and your children using costly, match-funded California debt, taxes and outside equity. With increasing press coverage, citizen involvement, and more information reaching the State Legislature, elected leaders statewide are learning more about the project's deficiencies, and the potential for detrimental financial impacts on our state, as well as our communities. A few facts and questions for you to consider:
- The voters that approved the $9.95 billion debt in 2008 were told there would be no state subsidies, and that the price tag would be $33 billion. What's more, according to a recent court decision, the language of referendum (that voters relied upon to authorize the bond/debt) was biased and worded to promote the project. What other details might have been misrepresented?
- For the bargain price of $5.5 billion we get the first 120 mile segment, slated to begin construction in 2012, between Borden and Bakersfield. Cost estimates to build Phase 1 (San Francisco-Anaheim) range between $43 billion to $66 billion. What will it cost to operate? What will phases 2 and 3 cost California taxpayers?
- Who will ride, who will pay, and what the routes will be are still not determined. The voters were promised an Investment Grade Analysis before construction delineating potential risks, who pays, how much, and likelihood of attracting private investment, and at what cost. Should the government "invest" billions of your tax dollars on guesswork?
- To date, Governors from other states have refused the Fed's "free HSR money" stating that their states can't afford it. If California accepts the "free money" are we on the cutting edge, or will this project propel CA over the financial cliff?
- The High Speed Rail Authority is spending roughly $1 million per day, hiring over 600 consultants, at a time when the Governor is requesting more tax dollars for schools, public safety and those in need. The CA High Speed Rail Authority, authorized by the Legislature, is using your tax dollars and state debt for this high-speed marketing machine. Should marketing a high speed train be one of the highest priorities for California?
- Agriculture is one of the largest industries in our state. With unemployment over 12%, should we be destroying family farmland and permanent jobs, "creating temporary jobs" building 120 miles of track, within 3 miles of an already existing Amtrak line? If CHSR must spend the "free money" why not upgrade Amtrak statewide using HSR funds?
Contact your Legislator -We need help on AB 76 (Harkey) which uses our state's constitution to defund the bond for High Speed Rail, and AB 385 which requires the Authority to submit an Investment Grade Analysis. Contact Gino Folchi at (949) 347-7301 or Sharon Gonsalves at (916) 319-2073 and we'll provide you with whatever you need to help Save Our State.